Tags: Pennsylvania | Corbett | Governor | Christie

Pa.'s Corbett Was an Ineffective Governor

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 10:21 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The GOP tidal wave was massive, with Republicans winning coast-to-coast. Pre-eminent was a man who, after achieving a stunning 10-point victory in America’s sixth-largest state, instantly became a leading contender for vice-president, and perhaps one day something even higher.
It was 2010, and Tom Corbett had just become governor of critically important Pennsylvania. With near-record Republican legislative majorities, he had it all, poised to usher in a new era of prosperity and help the Keystone State regain its glory.
Four short years later, Corbett was humiliated by being the only Republican incumbent in the country to fall, and the first governor in modern Pennsylvania history to lose re-election. Even more unfathomable, he lost in the biggest GOP landslide since Herbert Hoover was president.
Now, it’s “Tom who?”
Let’s put the results in perspective:
Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate by flipping nine seats. Congressional Republicans added to their majority, controlling more seats than at any time since 1931.
In Pennsylvania, Senate Republicans now control 60 percent of that chamber. And the House GOP picked up eight seats, standing at a whopping 119 (102 is a majority).
Nationwide, the GOP was even victorious in the Democratic strongholds of Massachusetts, Maryland, and President Obama’s home state of Illinois.
But there is a silver lining. Corbett’s defeat can serve as a blueprint to Republicans for what not to do. He didn’t lose because he was too far right (the overwhelming GOP gains prove that). Nor was it the perception that he cut public education spending. Such simplifications would be too easy.
The loss was an across-the-board failure by a governor way out of his league, one who should never have run in the first place, and certainly shouldn’t have been re-nominated by his out-of-touch party hierarchy.
Here’s a post-mortem probing the real reasons for Corbett’s defeat:
1) New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association (RGA), said it best: “We had great candidates . . . Governors who get things done win votes. Rick Scott in Florida, Paul LePage in Maine, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and Rick Snyder in Michigan.”
Using Christie’s rationale, Corbett was A) a terrible candidate, and B) didn’t “get things done.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
2) Corbett truly believes he fought gallantly, sacrificing himself by doing the right things. “I am proud of what we did,” he said, and complained he was hurt by taking on issues “no one else would touch.”
Sorry, but that’s bull. He didn’t “do” anything. Getting blown out doesn’t earn Tom Corbett the right to write his own flowery epitaph.
Here’s the truth behind Corbett’s historic defeat:
  • He didn’t govern as a conservative, nor a moderate. He didn’t govern at all.
  • He failed miserably at pension reform and liquor privatization, despite the vast majority of Pennsylvanians favoring both.
  • His communication and oratory skills were subpar.
  • His claim of not raising taxes is patently false. Among several tax increases he championed, the gasoline tax gave Pennsylvanians the highest fuel prices in the nation. This job-killing tax flies in the face of his claim that he helped “free enterprise” thrive.
And he made no effort to lower some of the nation’s highest corporate taxes, keeping Pennsylvania’s business climate near the bottom.
  • He talked about being fiscally responsible, yet gave sweetheart deals to the state’s public sector unions, and used taxpayer money to build ships that had no buyers, and a new stadium for the Yankees’ AAA baseball team. And his awarding of lucrative state contracts to big-dollar campaign contributors rivaled that of former Governor Ed Rendell.
  • He resembled Don Quixote for whimsical pursuits of irrelevant issues, from attempting to outsource the state lottery to a foreign firm to frivolously suing the NCAA for its sanctions against Penn State (which Corbett himself had approved).
  • He abandoned his signature issues of Voter ID and banning gay marriage, infuriating his base while not gaining himself a single “moderate” vote.
  • He strong-armed the Republican Committee to endorse a U.S. Senate candidate who had supported Barack Obama.
  • Above all, he could not shake the wide perception that his Jerry Sandusky investigation was politically motivated. Thousands of former supporters could no longer back a man whom they felt prolonged a child predator’s time on the streets. And Corbett’s steadfast refusal to answer reasonable questions incensed many voters.
Listening to Corbett gave the impression that no other states faced the same issues that Pennsylvania did. But they all do. So how could other Republican governors “get things done,” but Corbett struck out?
Because he lacked the attributes that make for an effective governor: competence, transparency, communication skill, being scandal free, and, above all, trustworthiness.
That’s a lesson Republicans should not soon forget.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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The GOP tidal wave was massive, with Republicans winning coast-to-coast. Pre-eminent was a man who, after achieving a stunning 10-point victory in America’s sixth-largest state, instantly became a leading contender for vice-president, and perhaps one day something even higher.
Pennsylvania, Corbett, Governor, Christie
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 10:21 AM
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